CAIRO: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Cairo on Friday to discuss the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, according to a statement issued from Cairo International Airport Friday morning.
The meeting will tackle Egypt’s proposal for ceasefire between Israel and Palestine’s Hamas. Kerry praised the proposal and said “Egypt’s proposal for ceasefire and negotiations provides an opportunity to end the violence and restore calm.”
Kerry’s delegation arrived on a French Airways plane from Paris to Cairo first on Thursday evening to prepare for Kerry’s visit, Youm7 reported. Another delegation also arrived Thursday on EgyptAir from Vienna.
On July 14, media reports claimed that Kerry was scheduled to visit Cairo that day to discuss the ongoing conflict but other media outlets denied the rumors and U.S. officials told CNN that the visit was postponed.
Kerry’s visit was delayed, not canceled, Shoukry told Al-Hayat newspaper in an interview and that Egypt’s efforts will put an end to the escalation between both Palestine and Israel.
A total of 260 Palestinians died and approximately 2,000 were injured in Gaza since the beginning of the conflict, the Palestinian Heath Ministry said Friday.
The latest Israeli raids on Gaza began July 1, a day after Israel found the bodies of three kidnapped settlers in the West Bank. The body of Palestinian Mohamed Abo Khodeir, 16, was found mutilated and burned, in what is widely seen as a revenge killing for the death of the Israelis.
The Israeli military said it attacked 34 targets in Gaza, mostly belonging to Hamas, claiming that it did not link the strikes to the abductions, Reuters reported. Hamas started launching rockets into Israel in its latest campaign on July 4, the Jerusalem Post reported.